Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim
Salaam Alaikum wa Rahmatullah
I am a revert to Islam. Over the years, people have asked me hundreds of times why I converted to Islam. Did I covert to please a husband? No. Did I convert after hearing a particularly moving sermon? No. I converted out of conviction after studying Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
Perhaps it’s the German in me, but I appreciate the logical consistency of Islam. Since the creation of the first man, Adam, peace be upon him, Islam has always taught the same simple unequivocal message of tauheed, belief in the Oneness of God. It’s a simple message, but profound.
But Christians believe in one God also, don’t they? Christianity and Judaism are considered to be monotheistic religions, right? Well, they may be called that, but Christians fell into idol worship when they decided to treat Jesus, peace be upon him, as a deity rather than what he was, a prophet of God.
Here’s what I think when I consider the mental gymnastics required for a Christian to believe, at the same time, that God is One and that God is Three – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. I would have less trouble understanding that people believe this if they had believed it from the very beginning. If God had created Adam and Eve and had said “I AM THREE” in a booming metaphysical voice, if He had revealed that to Noah and Abraham and Lot and Moses and the rest, then I would say, okay, I don’t believe that, but at least it’s consistent.
When God created mankind, He communicated clearly the teaching that He was the only God. No one else shared the Godhood with Him. He was “a jealous God”. “Thou shalt have no other God before Me” is one of the Ten Commandments. The declaration of faith of the Jews, the Schma, declares “Hear O Israel, the Lord Thy God, the Lord is One”. It is a simple lesson reinforced throughout the entire Torah and other books of what became the Jewish Tanakh and the Christian Old Testament. No person who reads it can make any mistake; God is One.
Ages of mankind have taught this message, tauheed, until someone came and spoke a different message. Did Jesus, peace be upon him, bring a new math to mankind? No. Indeed, he never wavered from reinforcing the message of tauheed. There are too many verses to quote here, but I defy anyone to find one where Jesus said he was God. Nor did anyone who witnessed his prophethood call him a god – they referred to him as a prophet or a Rabbi, but at no time did the Jews of Palestine try to elevate him to the position of deity. This process was started later by Paul (formerly Saul) of Tarsus, a Roman Jew steeped in the mythology of his pagan surroundings. The concept of Trinity was introduced and became entrenched among some over time, though not until the Council of Nicea almost four hundred years later did belief in Jesus’ divinity become a tenet of the faith.
The details of all this are online and in dusty libraries for those who wish to search. Having considered this information, here’s what strikes me. Bear with me because this is kind of stream-of-consciousness so I may ramble a bit.
Okay, God is God, right? As such, He created and sustains the universe. One of His creations is time. Time? Yes, time. Time is a created thing. Hard to grasp, but true. Some wag once said time is the universe’s way of making sure everything doesn’t happen at once. Funny, but there’s an element of truth in that only for us humans. God, on the other hand, being the Creator of time and Master of it, is not bound by time. What does that mean? That means that it is meaningless to use the terms past, present, and future when you are talking of things happening from God’s point of view. For God, the beginning of creation is as immediate as today, and as immediate as Judgment Day. He is separate from His creation and is not bound by the rules he put in motion to control our universe and whatever lies beyond it. Yes I know it’s kind of a brain twister, but if God were a slave of time, then He wouldn’t be God, would He?
Now that we have determined this, it makes it completely impossible to understand why He would allow an inconsistent message to be taught by His prophets over time. From God’s point of view, if I may be so bold as to put myself in His realm, Adam and Moses and Abraham and Jesus and Muhammad are all contemporaneous. We see this on a practical level in Islam when God sent Muhammad to the heavens on the night of the Israa and Miraaj. He took Muhammad to a place out of time as we normally understand it, where he met the prophets of previous ages. Think of them, all at the same “place and time” in the heavens. Especially consider Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, for instance. Moses was taught “God is One”, Muhammad was taught “God is One”. So does Jesus stand there in the presence of his fellow prophets and say, “Uh, yeah, about that. There’s been a bit of a mixup, you see. God USED to be one, but then I came along and now He’s three. Why not two? Well, uh, there’s this other entity, the Holy Ghost. I don’t know much about him, but apparently he’s God, too.” Now, I don’t mean to put words in the mouths of prophets of God and mean no disrespect, but can you see the logical fallacy of this situation? Even if you don’t believe in the Israa and Miraaj, if you believe in the Day of Judgment you do comprehend a time when every human who has ever lived will be brought back to life and will stand together.
Imagine Judgment Day. Some poor shmoe who was born in, say 1200 CE is standing there, and he is finding out that he’s going to hell because he did not believe Jesus Christ was God. “But, but, that guy”, he stammers, pointing at Abraham, or Moses, or Adam, or Noah, “that guy believes there is only One God.” “Ah, but he was born before Jesus’ time” he is informed, and thus falls under the Old Testament guidelines. So this poor man is doomed to the hellfire for believing the exact same thing as all the prophets of old, only for believing it at the wrong time. How much sense does this make?
So you see, time undoes this argument for believing Jesus is God. It’s not the only evidence, to be sure. There actually is no evidence that I see to believe Jesus is God, but this particular paradox strikes me, perhaps because I’ve watched a lot of programs on the Discovery Channel, or because I like to read books on quantum physics (yes, I’m a nerd), or just because it offends my logical German sensibilities. A truth must be a truth, yesterday, today, and tomorrow, else we cannot rely on it. The consistent truth of the matter is that God is One. That is the message revealed by God from Adam to Muhammad, peace and blessings be on all the prophets and messengers of God. If you don’t believe it, go back and study. Study with an open skeptical mind without preconceived ideas and memories of what some preacher told you was in the Bible. Read all the Bibles out there and marvel at what verses are being expunged nowadays by Christian scholars as being interpolations. Then go read the Qur’an, and talk to Muslims about what you read, because it requires context. But don’t just sit there in your pews and mindlessly mouth “God is Three” without understanding and think to yourself that his is just a mystery of your faith. The fundamentals of your faith shouldn’t be a mystery; they should be clear. As clear as 1 = 1.
Fi Aman Allah,